[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 100 (Wednesday, May 23, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 30435-30437]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-12475]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

10 CFR Part 50

[Docket No. PRM-50-105; NRC-2012-0056]


In-core Thermocouples at Different Elevations and Radial 
Positions in Reactor Core

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Petition for rulemaking; receipt and request for comment.

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[[Page 30436]]

SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC or the Commission) 
is publishing for public comment a notice of receipt for a petition for 
rulemaking (PRM), dated February 28, 2012, which was filed with the NRC 
by Mr. Mark Edward Leyse (the petitioner). The petition was docketed by 
the NRC on March 2, 2012, and assigned Docket No. PRM-50-105. The 
petitioner requests that the NRC amend its regulations to ``require all 
holders of operating licenses for nuclear power plants (``NPP'') to 
operate NPPs with in-core thermocouples at different elevations and 
radial positions throughout the reactor core.''

DATES: Submit comments by August 6, 2012. Comments received after this 
date will be considered if it is practical to do so, but the NRC is 
able to assure consideration only for comments received on or before 
this date. Due to resource constraints the NRC cannot guarantee 
explicit response to comments received after this date.

ADDRESSES: You may access information and comment submissions related 
to this petition for rulemaking, which the NRC possesses and are 
publicly available, by searching on http://www.regulations.gov under 
Docket ID NRC-2012-0056. You may submit comments by the following 
methods:
     Federal rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2012-0056. Address 
questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-492-
3668; email: Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov.
     Email comments to: Rulemaking.Comments@nrc.gov. If you do 
not receive an automatic email reply confirming receipt, then contact 
us at 301-415-1677.
     Fax comments to: Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission at 301-415-1101.
     Mail comments to: Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, ATTN: Rulemakings and 
Adjudications Staff.
     Hand deliver comments to: 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, 
Maryland 20852, between 7:30 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. (Eastern Time) Federal 
workdays; telephone: 301-415-1677.
    For additional direction on accessing information and submitting 
comments, see ``Accessing Information and Submitting Comments'' in the 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cindy Bladey, Chief, Rules, 
Announcements, and Directives Branch, Division of Administrative 
Services, Office of Administration, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 
Washington, DC 20555-0001; telephone: 301-492-3667, email: 
Cindy.Bladey@nrc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Accessing Information and Submitting Comments

A. Accessing Information

    Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2012-0056 when contacting the NRC 
about the availability of information for this petition for rulemaking. 
You may access information related to this petition for rulemaking, 
which the NRC possesses and is publicly available, by the following 
methods:
     Federal Rulemaking Web Site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2012-0056.
     NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System 
(ADAMS): You may access publicly available documents online in the NRC 
Library at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To begin the 
search, select ``ADAMS Public Documents'' and then select ``Begin Web-
based ADAMS Search.'' For problems with ADAMS, please contact the NRC's 
Public Document Room (PDR) reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-
4737, or by email to pdr.resource@nrc.gov. The incoming petition is in 
ADAMS under accession No. ML12065A215.
     NRC's PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public 
documents at the NRC's PDR, Room O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 
Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852.

B. Submitting Comments

    Please include Docket ID NRC-2012-0056 in the subject line of your 
comment submission, in order to ensure that the NRC is able to make 
your comment submission available to the public in this docket.
    The NRC cautions you not to include identifying or contact 
information that you do not want to be publicly disclosed in your 
comment submission. The NRC will post all comment submissions at http://www.regulations.gov as well as enter the comment submissions into 
ADAMS. The NRC does not routinely edit comment submissions to remove 
identifying or contact information.
    If you are requesting or aggregating comments from other persons 
for submission to the NRC, then you should inform those persons not to 
include identifying or contact information that they do not want to be 
publicly disclosed in their comment submission. Your request should 
state that the NRC does not routinely edit comment submissions to 
remove such information before making the comment submissions available 
to the public or entering the comment submissions into ADAMS.

II. The Petitioner

    The petition states that the petitioner previously submitted an 
earlier PRM to the NRC on emergency core cooling systems (ADAMS 
Accession No. ML070871368), which the NRC assigned Docket ID PRM-50-84 
(73 FR 71564; November 25, 2008). In addition, the petition states that 
the petitioner co-authored a paper entitled, ``Considering the Thermal 
Resistance of Crud in LOCA Analysis'' (American Nuclear Society, 2009 
Winter Meeting, Washington, DC (November 15-19, 2009)).

III. The Petition

    In its petition (ADAMS Accession No. ML12065A215), the petitioner 
requests that the NRC amend its regulations in Title 10 of the Code of 
Federal Regulations (10 CFR) part 50, ``Domestic Licensing of 
Production and Utilization Facilities,'' to ``require all holders of 
operating licenses for nuclear power plants (``NPP'') to operate NPPs 
with in-core thermocouples at different elevations and radial positions 
throughout the reactor core to enable NPP operators to accurately 
measure a large range of in-core temperatures in NPP steady-state and 
transient conditions.'' The petitioner further asserts that, in the 
event of a severe accident, in-core thermocouples would provide NPP 
operators with ``crucial information to help operators manage the 
accident.''
    In addition to several other reports and findings cited by the 
petitioner to support the petition, the petitioner cites the ``Report 
of the President's Commission on the Accident at Three Mile Island 
[TMI]: The Need for Change: The Legacy of TMI,'' dated October 1979. 
The petitioner states that ``[i]n the last three decades, NRC has not 
made a regulation requiring that NPPs operate with in-core 
thermocouples at different elevations and radial positions throughout 
the reactor core to enable NPP operators to accurately measure a large 
range of in-core temperatures in NPP steady-state and transient 
conditions, which would help fulfill the President's Commission 
recommendations. If another severe accident were to occur in the United 
States, NPP operators would not know what the in-core temperatures were 
during the progression of the accident.'' The petitioner continues by 
stating that ``[i]n a severe accident, core-exit thermocouples would be 
the primary

[[Page 30437]]

tool that was used to detect inadequate core cooling and core 
uncover.'' The petitioner states ``[t]he problem with using a 
predetermined core-exit temperature measurement to signal the time for 
NPP operators to transition from EOPs [Emergency Operating Procedures] 
to implementing SAMGs [Severe Accident Management Guidelines] is that 
experimental data indicates that core-exit temperature (``CET'') 
measurements have significant limitations: (1) `[t]he use of the CET 
measurements has limitations in detecting inadequate core cooling and 
core uncovery;' (2) `[t]he CET indication displays in all cases a 
significant delay (up to several 100 [seconds]);' and (3) `[t]he CET 
reading is always significantly lower (up to several 100 [Kelvin]) than 
the actual maximum cladding temperature.' '' \1\ The petitioner 
continues by asserting that ``despite the fact that `the nuclear 
industry developed SAMGs during the 1980s and 1990s in response to the 
[Three Mile Island] accident and followup activities,' which `included 
extensive research and study (including several [probabilistic risk 
assessments]) on severe accidents and severe accident phenomena,' \2\ 
NRC and the nuclear industry have ignored experimental data indicating 
that CET measurements have significant limitations. And ignored the 
President's Commission recommendations that NPPs have `instruments that 
can provide proper warning and diagnostic information; for example, the 
measurement of the full range of temperatures within the reactor vessel 
under normal and abnormal conditions.' '' \3\
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    \1\ Robert Prior, et al., OECD Nuclear Energy Agency, Committee 
on the Safety of Nuclear Installations, ``Core Exit Temperature 
(CET) Effectiveness in Accident Management of Nuclear Power 
Reactor,'' NEA/CSNI/R(2010)9, November 26 2010, p. 128.
    \2\ Charles Miller, et al., NRC, ``Recommendations for Enhancing 
Reactor Safety in the 21st Century: The Near-Term Task Force Review 
of Insights from the Fukushima Dai-ichi Accident,'' SECY-11-0093, 
July 12, 2011, available at: www.nrc.gov, NRC Library, ADAMS 
Documents, Accession Number: ML 111861807, p. 47.
    \3\ John G. Kemeny, et al., ``Report of the President's 
Commission on the Accident at Three Mile Island: The Need for 
Change: The Legacy of TMI,'' p. 72.
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    The petitioner cites the NRC's July 2011 ``Recommendations for 
Enhancing Reactor Safety in the 21st Century: The Near-Term Task Force 
Review of Insights from the Fukushima Dai-ichi Accident,'' by stating 
that ```EOPs typically cover accidents to the point of loss of core 
cooling and initiation of inadequate core cooling (e.g., core exit 
temperatures in PWRs greater than 649 degrees Celsius (1200 degrees 
Fahrenheit)).' '' \4\ The petitioner continues by stating 
``[u]nfortunately, NRC and Westinghouse do not consider that 
experimental data from tests conducted at four facilities indicates 
that CET measurements would not be an adequate indicator for when to 
transition from EOPs to implementing SAMGs in a severe accident.''
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    \4\ Charles Miller, et al., ``Recommendations for Enhancing 
Reactor Safety in the 21st Century: The Near-Term Task Force Review 
of Insights from the Fukushima Dai-ichi Accident,'' p. 47.
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    The petitioner cites findings of experiments, including a LOFT LP-
FP-2 experiment, and states that ``[t]he results of LOFT LP-FP-2 and 
other experiments demonstrate the need for NPPs to operate with in-core 
thermocouples at different elevations and radial positions throughout 
the reactor core to enable NPP operators to accurately measure a large 
range of in-core temperatures in NPP steady-state and transient 
conditions.''
    The petition states that the ``[p]etitioner is submitting this 10 
CFR 2.802 petition because if NPPs were to operate with in-core 
thermocouples at different elevations and radial positions throughout 
the reactor core to enable NPP operators to accurately measure a large 
range of in-core temperatures in NPP steady-state and transient 
conditions, it would help improve public and plant-worker safety. In 
the event of a severe accident, in-core thermocouples would enable NPP 
operators to accurately measure in-core temperatures, providing crucial 
information to help operators manage the accident; for example, 
indicating the time to transition from EOPs to implementing SAMGs.'' 
The petitioner also asserts that ``[i]f implemented, the regulation 
proposed in this petition for rulemaking would help improve public and 
plant-worker safety.''

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 16th day of May 2012.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Annette L. Vietti-Cook,
Secretary of the Commission.
[FR Doc. 2012-12475 Filed 5-22-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P